Mamiya RZ67 or Bronica SQ-Ai

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by tron_, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    So I have been researching for months for which camera to get. I'm at the point where I feel like I am ready to buy a MF camera finally :smile:

    I have boiled my options to a Mamiya RZ67 or a Bronica SQ-Ai. I would like to go 6x6 or 6x7 from what I have been reading online. The camera will be used hand held most of the time. I have read the RZ67 is pretty heavy but I have read a few people say they use theirs hand held all the time. Can someone shed some light on this?

    Also, the Bronica would be paired with a WLF, 80mm 2.8 PS lens, and 120 back. The Mamiya would be outfitted with a 110mm 2.8, WLF, and 120 back.

    Thanks!
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    They are completely different cameras....

    RZ is a big and heavy behemoth meant to be used in studio or in less mobile usage. Bronica SQ is more of a field assignment camera and it was popular for wedding photography. Not that you can't do either with RZ or SQ but intended market is quite different.

    I have used RZ hand-held for a bit. It's do'able but I wouldn't want to do it for very long. It's not only heavy, it's cumbersome.

    I don't know SQ-Ai but I do have a later model Mamiya M645Pro - which is similar. It's still on heavy side compared to 35mm but not so much as RZ. It's entirely usable as a field camera and hand-held.

    One thing you'd notice with MF camera after a while is that because of the film size, DOF is thinner than 35mm. That would mean if you want a greater DOF, you'd have to use slower shutter speed - which makes hand-holding difficult at times. This is especially if you demand the highest degree of sharpness that MF affords over 35mm.

    Something to consider.
     
  3. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I have an RZ67 and I've carried it for a few hours at a time hiking, plus I hand hold it 80% of the time on shoots. It's not as heavy as people think with a waist level.
     
  4. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I shoot a SQa for years. Never used the WL finder much. Always shot it with the AE prism and the Speed Winder for hand held. With that set-up, it was easier to shoot than most 35mm SLRs. You can wrap your hand around the handle very securely. I sold it (along with a 4x5) and compromised on a RZ 67. Definitely heavier, and more cumbersome to shoot handheld, but not impossible. A good OP-Tech weight reducing strap definitely helps.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you feel you need to use a prism finder, the RZ67 is a very large and heavy camera for someone who intends to shoot hand held most of the time.

    Unless of course you are Annie Leibovitz, or at least have a few of her assistants at hand :smile:.

    I do carry and use an RB67 hand-held, but only for part of its use.

    When I can, I like to have the RB67 on at least a monopod, and preferably a tripod.

    The closest camera I own to a Bronica SQ-Ai is my Mamiya 645 Pro, and it works very well as a hand-held camera.
     
  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    There is also the Bronica GS-1 SLR, which is a 6x7cm camera. It is smaller and lighter than the RB/RZ cameras, but does not have rotating backs or the lens selection (50mm, 65mm, 100mm, 110mm macro, 150mm, 200mm and 250mm lenses are readily available). Backs include 6x7, 6x6, 6x4.5 in both 120 and 220. Reasonably priced, too.
     
  7. ContaxRTSFundus

    ContaxRTSFundus Subscriber

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    I often use the RZ67 ProIID hand-held with an AE Finder, Winder II and the 100-200 zoom and it is not too uncomfortable, especially after regularly using a Fuji GX680III with the 50mm lens hand-held. With the RZ, you can get 6x7, 6x6 and 6x4.5 backs as well as a stunning array of lenses and the floating element and APO lenses are among the sharpest made for any camera. The range of accessories for the RZ is exemplary with a variety of viewfinders, grips, shades, remote releases, etc etc.

    There are some compatibility issues between the 3 types of metered Finders for the RZ67 Pro and the later ProII - the only AE Finder approved for use with the R67 ProII is the FE701; according to Mamiya the others won't work with the later versions of the camera (although some of the earlier AE Finders were modified by Mamiya for use with the ProII). If you stick with the RZ67 Pro you will have the best range of finders available (and it's cheaper than the ProII) and there's not much to choose between the Pro and ProII. Of course, if you stick to the Waist-Level Finder, the rig is quite a bit lighter. One other bonus is that the mechanical grips made for the RB67 can be used with the RZ too if you don't need the electronic shutter release on the RZ's Left Hand Grip.

    The RZ is very versatile and offers some of the best glass of any camera system, medium format or otherwise. And it's not that heavy really - perhaps you could try hiring one for a weekend to test it?
     
  8. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    First off THANK YOU to everyone who replied. Like I said I have been researching this for months but there's nothing like personal experience. I would like to consider myself somewhat lumberjack-manly so I can't imagine a 5lb camera causing TOO many problems. I would most definitely be sticking to the WLF for now.

    Also, this is a Pro model (not a ProII, sorry for not mentioning that). I have looked into the Bronica GS-1 but as ContaxRTSFundus said, I have read phenomenal things about Mamiya lenses. The lens that I would get with this kit is the 110 2.8 which doesn't seem like too big of a lens and the ~50mm equivalent will be a comfortable focal length for me.

    I have heard of the full floating optics but I am having a hard time finding a good article of what exactly they are/how they work. Could anyone shed some light on this?

    Thanks again!
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Traditionally, the individual elements in a single focal length lens remained fixed in respect to each other - the entire lens moved forward and backward in order to achieve focus. This meant that the lens was optimized for one particular distance. Shots taken at other distances were more likely to exhibit aberrations that were corrected for at the optimal distance. In addition, and most commonly, the lens would be more likely to show good flat field performance at one optimum distance, whereas at other distances the field of sharp rendition would be more curved, resulting in either sharp centre and out of focus corners, or sharp corners and out of focus centre (for flat subjects, parallel to the lens plane).

    Floating optics include a mechanism that moves the individual lens elements in relation to each other. This permits optimum or near-optimum performance at a wider variety of subject distances/magnifications.

    Floating element lenses are generally more complex and more expensive to design and manufacture. In some cases they depend on the availability of more exotic glasses and aspherical (as compared to spherical) lens element preparation. They probably wouldn't even exist except for improvements in computer processing as part of the lens design process.
     
  10. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Ok, ok, ok.... whooooaaa truck!


    This GS-1 you say has a 6x6 back??? Because I just looked at a few online and one of these bodies with a 150 f4, back, WLF, and speed winder is at a $300 buy it now price!!!

    If they are that cheap, and just as good as a Hassy, I'd just as soon sell my Hassy and go Bronica. I like my Hassy, but I can't afford to do anything else with it because of the expensive equipment. I'm stuck at 80mm with no possibility of any other focal range any time soon....
     
  11. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Handheld?; Bronica
     
  12. NJS

    NJS Member

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    well, SQ-A only if you are willing to use shutter speeds 1/125s and faster. I got very mixed results for anything slower than that, the mirror slap is just brutal on both of my SQ-As.
     
  13. Johnkpap

    Johnkpap Member

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    I have both the Bronica GS-1 and the Etrsi Cameras, I have used a SQ also and found it to be also of the same high build Quality.

    I have had both my cameras for many years and they work and work......I have a backup ETRS body in my set and I never needed to use it.

    With regards to the RB 67's they are big and really only usefull in a studio, the GS is compact and lighter, the only issue is that some lenses and Accessorys are
    hard to get, or $$$ it took me a year to find a 6x6 back and a AE Rotary Finder.

    KEH is a good place for nice Bronica items, I bought a 200mm GS lens in EX condition :- only $139 !!! and remember this lens cost about $2000 new !!!

    Buy a SQ you will be happy:D

    Johnkpap
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    WTF? Ever try mirror lock-up? No such problems with a Bronica SQ-B.
     
  16. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Yes, I have both the 120 and 220 6x6 backs.

    And it's probably less than 20 years old. All electronic if you can deal with that - it will not fire without a battery. But it's nice and compact and I routinely take it (AE Prism finder), three lenses and two backs when I'm hiking in the Rocky Mountains. But you do have to be careful of the dark slides. They are very dangerous!

    [​IMG]

    I've never used a Hasselblad, but I have a Rollei SLX that has an 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens and I can't say there's much difference in optical quality.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2012
  17. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm seriously considering it... like seriously.
     
  18. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    First decide if you want 6x6 only or that and 6x7. The Bronica SQ series is 6x6, smaller and lighter than the GS-1. The GS-1 is compact compared to the Mamiya RB/RZ, but bulky for a 6x6 SLR. Don't forget that lenses and accessories are also larger and heavier. If you like the idea of shooting both 6x6 and 6x7, the GS-1 could be just the thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2012
  19. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm definitely a 6x6 shooter. Its by far my favorite. So much so that I'm also contemplating getting rid of my 35mm gear thats collecting dust.
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Well then, the SQ series might be what you would prefer, given your financial constraints. I can't say they're "just as good" as Hasselblad, not having used a Hasselblad much and given Hasselblad's and Zeiss's reputations, but I think you will find that a Bronica performs very well. I have Bronica ETRSi's and have been pleased with them.
     
  21. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    I went from H'blad to SQA ,with the usual 50/80/150 lens set, and did not feel I lost anything in optical quality.
    Blads have a semi-mythical reputation,but the cameras themselves need regular servicing to remain reliable. The rear shutter flaps are a weak design point.
    Before the flame wars begin -I loved mine (500ELM) -even when the "chrome" began to flake off..3 months from new.
     
  22. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    Well I pulled the trigger on a Mamiya RZ67, 110 2.8, 120 back, and WLF. I'll post pics when it comes in, saying I'm excited would be an understatement :D
     
  23. Tom Hensley

    Tom Hensley Member

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    Congratulations, I'm right there with, arrived yesterday, RZ67 Pro II, 180 4.5, 120 back, WLF...

    Now to find a dang battery for it... Tip of the iceberg I'm afraid, already looking at other lenses (I shoot mostly landscapes and want something a bit wider), a nice light meter, processing goodies, gotta have a full darkroom right, couple more backs, some different focusing screens, MLU / shutter release cables, other accessories etc etc etc?!? GAH!


    I hope to get a roll of film through it this weekend, at least that will be a start.
     
  24. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    Awesome! How do you like it so far? I'm hoping I can hold off on buying more gear haha, the only other thing I want for it is a Polaroid back but that won't be for a while I think.

    I also bought some Fuji Superia to run through the camera. I use Superia a ton in my 35mm SLRs and it's a comfortable film to work with personally. So excited to get this camera in :smile:
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    On the battery front, they take a PX28 battery.

    I've used a variety of different PX-28s in my Mamiya 645 Pro (nice that they use the same battery!).

    The PX28 silver oxide are the best I've used, but the PX28 alcaline batteries that are sold really inexpensively for dog collars work fine - just buy them in bulk on the internet and keep a couple of backups in your bag.

    Here is an example link: http://24hrbatteries.com/shop/pcs-b...325-28a-a544-px28a-544a-4lr44-rfa18-p-96.html
     
  26. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I am no longer considering it... Like seriously no longer considering it.

    This morning I stopped in at Dons Used Photo Equipment in Dallas, and I got a chance to put my hands on a Bronica SQ-A. My opinion... In a word.... "ughhh!" (as in eeewwww!)

    I'll keep me Hassy.